reading comprehension skills
Written by Waseem Raza

Reading comprehension skills: The very title says that reading is a skill. Reading comprehension is more than seeing words. Reading comprehension requires thinking, feeling and imagination. A skilled reader can be more successful in comprehending and understanding a text as compared to an unskilled reader. In reading comprehension, two things are very important– our speed and accuracy. If we increase our speed, it will decrease our focus and as a result, will decrease accuracy. Reading comprehension involves the basics like vocabulary and the knowledge of sentence’ structure. It includes processing information, organizing thoughts and following the line of the author. It also depends on the interest, previous knowledge and familiarity of the reader with the subject. A student of literature will not be able to immediately comprehend an article on commerce or geography. Also read essay writing

Our target in this chapter is to discuss some of the reading skills which are helpful for quick and better understanding of the texts.

• Identifying the Main Idea/Topic Sentence/Thesis Statement/ Introductory and Concluding Paragraph

This skill is related to reading comprehension at the paragraph level. When a writer writes something, he has a message to give. The topic is that message. We can call it the subject of the paragraph. It can be a single word or two or more words phrase. If the paragraph is a wheel, the topic is the hub — the center around which the whole wheel spins. It controls the spikes and the rim of the wheel of paragraph. Once you have found the topic, you are ready to find thena The main idea is the point of the paragraph. The main idea/ Thesis statement is the most important piece of information about the topic. Whereas the topic may comprise a single word, the main idea is conveyed in a sentence.

Locating the Main Idea

A writer will state his main idea somewhere in the paragraph. That main idea may be stated at the beginning of the paragraph, in the middle, or at the end. The sentence in which the main idea is stated is called the topic sentence. Let’s use the paragraph below as an example. First find the topic then look for the main idea.

1. Summer is a wonderful time to spend at West Beach. It is a beach with light-colored, soft sand. The coastline goes on for a long way and many people enjoy, walking along it. Children like to play in the surf and walk along the rocks that are visible at low tide. This is a fun beach for people of all ages.

In this paragraph:

• the topic is West Beach

• the main idea (what the writer is saying about the topic) is that summer is a wonderful time at West Beach

Here is another example:

2. The movie Apollo 13 was a blockbuster for the summer of 1995. It was an exciting story about space exploration. In the movie, the astronauts get in trouble while they are trying to return to Earth. People in the audience are on the edge of their seats waiting to see what happens. What ‘,jokes it even more exciting is that it is a true story.

In this paragraph:

• the topic is the movie Apollo 13

• the main idea is in the first sentence: Apollo 13 was a blockbuster for the summer of 1995 While the main idea is usually in the first sentence, the next most common placement is in the last sentence of a paragraph. The author gives supporting information first and then makes the point in the last sentence. Here’s a paragraph we can use as an example. Try to locate the topic and the main idea.

3. Most teenagers and young adults do not know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It is a big decision. There are a number of things you can do to narrow the choices. For example, you can take an interest test, do some research on your own about a career, try volunteer work in the field in which you are interested, or “job-shadow”, in Which you spend a day with a person who is working in a field that interests you. These are just a few helpful ideas as you begin to choose a career.

In this paragraph:

•the topic is jobs or career choices

the main idea is: A few ideas to help the reader choose a career

Finally, an author might put the main idea in the middle of a paragraph. The author will spend a few sentences introducing the topic, present the main idea, then spend the rest of the paragraph supporting it. This can make the main idea more difficult to find.

See if you can find the topic. and main idea in the paragraph below.

4. The United States seems to be in love With the idea of going out to eat. Because of this, a real variety of restaurants has come about specializing in all kinds of foods. McDonald’s is the king of a subgroup of restaurants called fast-food restaurants. Chances are, no matter where you live, there is a McDonald’s restaurant near you. There are even McDonald’s in the Soviet Union. Now McDonald’s is trying something new. It is called -McDonald’s Express and there is a test site in Peabody, Massachusetts. It is part of a Mobil gas station. This allows you to fill up with gas and fill up on food at the same time. What will they think of next?

In this paragraph:

• the topic is McDonald’s

• the main idea is in the middle of the paragraph, in the third sentence: McDonald’s is the king of fast food

Introductory and Concluding Paragraph

The introductory and concluding paragraphs are very important in the comprehension of a text. The main idea is mostly stated in the introductory paragraph. It sets the tone of the paragraph. All the supporting details come to strengthen it and build the body of the paragraph. Rarely, it may come in the conclusion of the paragraph. In that case, the argunient is built in advance and claim comes after it. In either case, the importance of the introductory and concluding paragraphs cannot be ignored.

Concentration and Motivation


Concentration is a very important characteristic which helps us rcmain attentive towards the task at hand. It is a key point in most activities, and it .allows us to successfully and effectively complete tasks, take part in conversations, follow a movie, and yes, it also helps us while reading.

 If you’re thinking you want to read but can’t focus, then it’s time to learn how to concentrate on reading. Here are some suggestions:

1. Remove Distractions

It’s clear that you will not be able to pay attention to whatever you’re doing if every five minutes someone asks you something, or if your phone notifications go off constantly. Technology has many great aspects, but it also poses many serious risks.

Hopefully, you are aware of the corrupting and addictive powers of technology, and are taking measures to combat this. By now you may be thinking “what has all of this got to do with reading?”. Well, quite a lot actually. If your mind is preoccupied by your phone, then you’ve already compromised your focus. You won’t be able to properly concentrate on your reading if you’re wondering if there’s any new texts
waiting, and so on. 

Regarding other distractions such as household chores, try to get them done before your reading session, so that you can sit back, feeling content that your work is done, and enjoy your book with a clear mind.

2. Reduce Fatigue

Lack of sleep is a big problem for many people. You may be wondering how to concentrate on reading when you’re constantly tired. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult struggling with insomnia, you’re probably feeling the effects of not getting enough sleep.

It goes without saying that it will be nearly impossible for you to concentrate on your book if you are tired. Due to its relaxing capabilities, reading is definitely hard to tackle if you are not well-rested. You may get through a few paragraphs, start nodding, and then, after hitting your head against the book, wake up and realize you have absolutely no recollection of what you just read.

3. Try to eliminate Stress

Stress, worries, anxiety… All of these things can compromise your concentration and prevent you from truly focusing on your reading. There are several ways in which you can try dealing with these problems. Writing down whatever you’re concerned about and deciding to resolve it can help reduce the stress you’re facing. Also, realize that worrying is not helpful, and just robs you of the present moment’s happiness.

Once you’ve managed to clear your head and relax, start reading. Try to enter into the story. Get to know the characters. Take part in the action and imagine yourself being there. This might even help you take a break from your own problems. it.

4.Fight Boreaom

Reading a boring book is not always a very interesting experience. If you are not reading for pleasure, it is a hard task. Reading academic courses is a serious affair and one has to fight boredom in it. Thankfully, you don’t have to finish every single book you start. If you really aren’t getting anything out of the book, you can drop it. Try to find a different one which actually sparks your interest.

If you notice you’re getting bored and losing focus, take a break, and if necessary, maybe even start a different book. Just don’t cheat. Sometimes a great book can have a series of pages where you begin to lose interest, but afterwards the action picks up again. Give each book its fair chance.

5. Learn to manage your energy levels

It may happen that you’ll sit down intending to read for an hour, but after ten minutes you find yourself drumming your fingers, grinding your teeth, and kicking your legs back and forth. Maybe you’re longing to be with your friends in the park, or out on the soccer field, and so on. If you have a lot of energy which is waiting to be used, then it would be advisable to go for that soccer game, or whatever sport you enjoy.

But if you’ve been working at your desk all day and are anxious to get outside, it might be a good idea to postpone your reading’ until after you’ve managed to get some physical exercise. Otherwise, you will have trouble staying focused on your reading.

6. Adjust Your reading position

Last but not least, your posture plays a significant role in your awareness level. Moreover, different places mean different things for us. Following this course of thought, it might make sense to have a designated seat or place in our house where we do our reading. Try to adopt a comfortable but upright position which will keep you alert. Thus, a habit will be built, and you may also see a boost in your focus. Read more

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